Why is schedule not "king?"

Keep in mind, for example, Hewlett Packard purportedly makes 80% of its profit from products released within the last 2 years.

So, why is schedule not "king" - even though it's given lip service?

I think there's a lot of reasons, which are situational, depending upon the market, the company, the cast of players and the mindset they bring with them. I've tried to outline below some of those reasons...

  1. At the highest level there is an increasing acceptance of less than effective performance (i.e. "excuses" are listened to and accepted - without real consequence). Schedule slips are disappointing but understandable - especially in a resource "starved" organization.

  2. There's no formal product/product family "ownership" or accountability at the executive level.

  3. In the minds-eye of top management the concept of "performance to schedule" lacks the gravitas that's usually attributed to more strategic/over-arching concerns such as Revenue, Cost Control, Supply Chain Management, Staffing issues, etc. The activity of program management is not their domain and relegated to those at the supervisory and/or working team level who lack the authority, budget and "clout" to insure that the product will hit the $ sweet spot.

  4. Functional organization structures are not conducive to smooth cross-functional hand-offs: no one is accountable for the between-function hand-offs themselves. Functional performance is biased to managing costs often at the expense of on-time performance.

  5. Managing costs has always been and remains the default management tool - at all levels - when revenue and/or profits fall short ("Cut 10% across the board").

  6. Time-To-Market is a relatively new management concept and flies in the face of the traditional cost management concept. Therefore, it is an especially difficult concept to "unseat" even though the logic of Time-To-Market is compelling. Think of Lewins' Force Field Analysis: restraining versus pushing forces.

These are just a few of the over-arching root issues we have observed in our practice.